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08-07-2002, 01:55 PM
:( When beginning aikido, has anyone ever had the feeling like some of the higher ranking students would purposely resist your training. Is it proper to mention this to the sensei (not the specific person)? It seems to me that aikido doesn't work in the dojo if my partner seems to want nothing else but a kick in the head.

08-07-2002, 02:38 PM
Part of being an Uke (attacker) is to give a commited attack, but they should balance this with working with the Nage (person recieving the attack) so that the Nage can actually DO the technique. Your Sensei should be the balance and judge between these two, because recieving a technique is just as important as giving... so that everyone can learn.

I would mention it on a One on One basis with your Sensei and get his/her feedback. It may be you might have been going the wrong way and thus Uke resisted? There are different factors, don't be afraid to ask questions.

Last week I just made my 7th kyu belt. Last night I landed flat on my face because I wasn't paying attention to what " I " was doing. Its all part of learning, just gotta get up and do it again and never stop learning.

08-07-2002, 02:41 PM
thanks for the advice

i find that there are two women who always just seem to resist anything i do. this in turn makes me begin to push and develop bad habits. everyone else is helpful and hlps me through the technique...those who can't at least offer some consolation.

i just find that the silence on the mat prohibits learning in many ways. i'm not trying to change tradition, just understand.

08-07-2002, 04:08 PM
First, the question you didn't ask: how to learn on a 'silent' mat. This was what I did when in that kind of dojo: pay REALLY close attention to the demo by sensei, especially where he is moving his feet and hips--repeat the steps to yourself as he does them so you know where to move. Next, confirm those steps as you feel your partner move you, and try to sense in your body what s/he is doing to yours and how you can replicate that movement. Oh oh, now it is your turn. Try to move slowly and smoothly, repeating those steps to yourself...if it fails, on your next attempt change at least one thing. When uke again, pay close attention, especially at the point where things stopped working for you...unless your partner is a total loser, they will be trying to emphasize here what you should try instead of what you did. Repeat.

For the question you did ask: yes, some ukes purposely shut down their partners, at any and all levels. Some are begging for a shot to the head. Some are trying to make a point. Some are just confused themselves, or stiff, or scared, or.... before taking it up with your sensei, I would try asking the ukes what was up after class.

You mentioned the two ukes who are difficult are women, are there better ukes who are also women? I ask because sometimes a big muscular beginner thinks a woman is blocking him because he doesn't know enough about Aikido to realize he is muscling her, or twisting her joints, in a way that prevents her 'leading' him into the right way, while a larger male uke can overcome the muscling. In cases like this, rather than push harder to make it work, ease up a little. I've even had beginner males literally pick me up off the ground without realizing it, they were so into figuring out the technique.

Jason Tonks
08-08-2002, 02:34 AM
Hello there Joseph. If you are a beginner on the mat, I would say that it is inappropriate for higher grades to be resisting your technique because you need to learn it first. Once you have understood the movement and application of the technique then resistance can be applied. This should be done with the view to develop the power of your technique not to frustrate and anger you. I wouldn't bother telling your Sensei. You said that Aikido doesn't work in the dojo when people just want a kick in the head. The reality is in or out of the dojo an atemi is more than likely to be needed. I don't really know how you train at your dojo, but maybe put in an atemi before you attempt the technique in future. If your training from static, try taking the technique from movement. The main thing is just to be relentless in your training. All the best.

Jason T

Ali B
08-08-2002, 07:36 AM
:D hi Joseph,

I hope the two women who resist your attacks are providing you with information about you technique, which is probably their intention. Higher grades should be more coordinated and therefore more difficult to move.

I suggest relaxing more...This is a problem I have come up against time and time again and can be to your advantage. It has helped my aikido enormously. There is a lot you can do to counter.

If they really are resisting, then they will also be slightly pushing or pulling. Your job is to feel the direction of this and change it "Cambiar vector" as we say in Spain.

Sometimes we tend to stop a technique when we begin to feel the other person resisting and if we follow it through, then it works - so donīt stop your KI. The trick is to imagine doing the technique without the other person being there. Extend your mind.

It also helps to have a sense of humor. You can learn a lot and enjoy your aikido more, so be grateful to them...They are your aikido buddies.



08-08-2002, 08:38 AM
IMHO, higher bet should offer their assistance at your level or slightly above. Tgis is enter and blending during teaching. yet, egos abound where ever you go. They can teach you about yourself and what happens inside you when things don't go the way you think they should. By always trying to "kick your ass", they may teach you more about them and yourself personally than about Aikido.

Releax, breath, and enjoy yourself. Welcome to oragami with people, learning to blend and become one with the mat.

Until again,


08-09-2002, 07:50 AM
thanks for the advice...to ca: there are women who are very helpful in the class most of the women are...the two who aren't happen to be smaller than i am, but i am by no means muscular or big. One of them constantly withdraws her arm before i can grab her wrists...i feel stupid chasing her arm, so i don't...then she gets upset.

1: I would never lean forward to grab someone's wrists who wasn't there.

2: It becomes difficult to learn a technique when the uke does not even let me touch her wrist.

3: It is even more difficult when the uke says...'i could do X,Y,Z to you'. Though i am a beginner at aikido...I have martial arts training (read: i am not an idiot). I feel as though there is (sometimes) a sense of snobbery among some people in my dojo. There are many ways of/to budo according to O Sensei himself. Has anyone else noticed this among feellow aikido students.

Deb Fisher
08-09-2002, 10:47 AM
So one of these women withdraws her arm and makes her chase you? Are you donig a technique "in motion" or from static? If you're supposed to be approaching her from static, then you should probably ask her what's up, because that's weird. If it's in motion, a lot of yudansha where I train do this to me - it feels like they're learning how to guide the energy of the attack, how to start the motion going in a direction that gives them an advantage and gives uke fewer options. Because we are doing a specific technique and I can't just grab them somewhere else, I have to chase their arm and it makes me feel kind of stupid, too.

But you know, I figure it's just a drill and they're learning too. If perhaps this is the problem and it's impairing your ability to learn the technique, then just level with them about it. If it's something like this, then they would probably want to know that it is confusing you.

08-09-2002, 11:18 AM
thanks deb...

i told her exactly how i felt (not emotionally, but physically...i could not feel the movement) and she escalted the prob and said "Well i am a girl (definitely her word) and not too big (i'm paraphrasing) and i don't like to let people grab my wrists. I let her know continuously that i could not understand the principles...

...and then it got out of hand...

Kevin Leavitt
08-09-2002, 03:07 PM
know exactly where you are coming from.

It is hard for me to say who is "right" and who is "wrong".

I think it is part of learning aikido....working with different personalities.

I talk most often on this vary topic. Believe it or not senior students discuss how much to "give" a new student and how much not to.

There really is a fine line between "going with the technique" to allow a student to explore it, and teaching them correct martial intent.

On a really, really new student I am usually very easy going and kinda become "aiki jelly" so they can get the basic mechanics. After that though you must gradually turn up the pressure so they can really learn to be martially effective.

Being easy can be good, or it can be an insult.

At my level of training I consider it a complete insult if you are being the least bit polite and "give" me anything.

I personally would welcome the response from the women you train with. Maybe not as a beginner though.

There are "aiki assholes" out there that will attack unmartially and uncooperative just to satisfy their egos however, and no matter what your skill level, they are no fun to work with.

I try to avoid them if I can. If not work it out the best I can.

I am willing to bet that most of the frustration you are experiencing is just being new. It will pass. I experience less and less about what you are talking about the longer I study.

Another quick vignette:

I am a black belt in another art. I went to an aikido seminar recently where I forgot my kyu belt. I had to wear my black belt. Most didn't know my rank at the seminar. it was most interesting working with people, I must say that I found that my aikido was "better". What was happening is that people were being "nice" out of "respect" and throwing themselves into a technique instead of doing it right. I found that to not be a good thing! Built my aiki ego, but did nothing for my training!

Goes both ways!

08-09-2002, 04:06 PM
Hi Cyrijl,

I'm sad to hear your exchange with your partner did not go well :(

It sounds like part of the problem is actually not when she is uke (you are doing, she is receiving technique), but when she is nage (she is doing, you are receiving technique). It also sounds like the particular problem the other night was she was leading but you didn't feel like following. Here's the scoop on that: she may be moving too fast, or jerky, and you didn't feel like following due to that (perhaps she has difficulty leading, try to go with it, when you are uke your role is to help nage learn). It may be that she is guiding smoothly and even slowly, but you just don't get the idea of following...not unusual. Here is why you do: the technique being practiced is designed to be done with movement (I am assuming, as Deb said, that it was not designed to be done from static, more on that in a minute). If it is designed to be done with movement, the idea is uke would be grabbing for nage (say the wrist), in a classic 'come here' kind of grab guys do with girls, or with other guys they are about to punch with the other hand. But to do it really fast, her technique would need to be way good, and your ukemi even better (never grab harder or faster than you can fall), and I don't think you guys are probably to that point yer.So..., the idea is for you to move somewhat lower than you would if grabing fast, and she will not throw you at the speed of light, either. But the movement should be smooth, like a slow motion movie. You don't have to lean, feel free to move your body/feet. Beginners often think if they can't reach it without moving then they can't reach it; you can, but must move, and that's what Aikido is about, anyway---movement. Sometimes past a boundry that is comfortable.

Anyway, back to the movement vs static. In a static technique, unless you are good sized and can throw a little muscle (not supposed to do that) into the equation, techniques can be limited and not all can be done from all grabs, unless atemi or some other distraction is added...again, not usually done to beginners who will generally stand there and get smacked in the face with the atemi.

But the bottom line for this last interaction is: it sounds like you were uke, and as uke you should be concentrating on doing what is necessary for your partner to practice. If you look at it as giving her the help she needs, that shouldn't be too difficult.

08-09-2002, 04:12 PM
PS for any who still just don't get grabbing for a moving hand, would you do it if they were pulling out a gun or knife to use on you? Pulling away a million dollar check made out to you? Heck, even grabbing for one of your Happy Meal fries? For your toddler's hand as he dashes for the street? It's all about had badly you want to connect. Me, I like french fries.

Deb Fisher
08-09-2002, 05:54 PM
Yeah, Colleeen, you're right. But Cyrijl isn't telling us whether it's from static or in motion, and in a practice setting, when you're being told what technique to do and how, that's relevant.

Either way, given the information given, I don't think it's as confusing as Kevin makes it out to be. As a girl myself, I don't like getting my wrists grabbed on the street, on the bus, etc...

... but an aikidoka refusing to let her wrists be grabbed in a dojo setting? That makes no sense. Given the information here, it sounds like she doesn't want to train or something. I don't know any aikidoka who don't ask for extra wrist-grabbing from their poor friends and lovers and partners - this seems all wrong.

Unless this is a jiyuwaza thing. Then I think Kevin's right.

Boy, not knowing the facts never stopped me from having an opinion about anything...


08-09-2002, 10:02 PM
>>there are women who are very helpful in the class most of the women are...the two who aren't happen to be smaller than i am, but i am by no means muscular or big. One of them constantly withdraws her arm before i can grab her wrists...i feel stupid chasing her arm, so i don't...then she gets upset.<<

Practicing with beginners can be frustrating for the more experienced person, too. That may be part of the problem here. She may be frustrated with herself as much as with you.

Generally, it's good technique to move before your wrists are actually grabbed. A firm grab is much more difficult to deal with. But it takes lots of practice to be able to move before the grab while still maintaining enough contact so that uke can't just back off. It sounds like this is what your partner is having trouble with.

If I find myself breaking contact with my partner in this way, I'll slow down my movement until my partner can keep up. Again, doing that takes lots of practice.

At the same time, if uke doesn't attack, then there is no reason to apply a technique. As uke, your responsibility is to give your partner a sincere attack. In this case, that means making a real effort to grab her wrists.

>>1: I would never lean forward to grab someone's wrists who wasn't there.<<

Don't lean. Move your feet. Many beginners move as if their feet are nailed to the floor. They aren't, I promise.

>>2: It becomes difficult to learn a technique when the uke does not even let me touch her wrist. <<

It becomes difficult to practice a technique when uke refuses to attack. From your partner's point of view, that's what you may appear to be doing.